Email attacks have recently become more complex and difficult to detect. When it comes to protecting against phishing attacks, knowledge is power, hence, it is critical for everyone to continue to educate themselves and stay updated on the most current forms of phishing scams.
Originally intended to mislead users into exposing login credentials and other personal information, phishing has become more widespread in recent years as a means of infecting computers with malware by deceiving people into clicking on malicious links and documents.
Threat actors specializing in phishing are expert email marketers because they are always experimenting with new ways to increase the efficiency of their operations. They use measures like ‘landing rate’ and ‘bite-rate’ to gauge their success. They know people are busy and preoccupied, so harried employees scrolling through inboxes that are rapidly overflowing are a prime target. With more people working remotely than ever before, the border between work and home equipment is blurring, and seemingly innocuous behaviors, such as reading personal emails on a company computer, can have major ramifications.
More sophisticated phishing attacks, which are harder to detect and pose a higher risk to enterprises, can be seen in the coming months.
Trends making phishing more difficult to defend against
Here are a few of the trends that are making phishing more difficult to defend against that businesses should be aware of:
Hijacking of an email thread
Using email data acquired from malware-infected systems, this technology automates the production of customized phishing baits. Stolen email body content, subject lines, and address books are used to reply to real responses to emails containing malware messages. Since the recipient is more inclined to believe an email from someone with whom they have previously communicated, the strategy is highly effective.
People are now openly sharing personal information online, which cybercriminals might utilize against them. Personal information given online, such as on social media, can be used by cybercriminals to create persuasive lures that can lead to business email compromise fraud.
Poor cyber hygiene for remote employees
Industry analysts claimed that during the pandemic when remote work was the new normal, office staff viewed their personal email on corporate devices. This is significant since personal email accounts aren’t protected by a company’s email gateway filters and can go unnoticed by security teams, making it simpler for phishers to “land” their emails on a company device.
Looking ahead: Hardware enforced protection and zero trust
With phishing activity increasing considerably in 2021, cybercriminals honing their techniques, and remote working becoming more common, businesses are unlikely to witness a move away from phishing in the near future.
To better secure users, a more architecturally effective approach to security that does not place the responsibility on staff is required. This strategy should be based on zero trust principles, isolating risky behavior into compartments so that one compromise does not lead to another.
Risky activities, such as reading email attachments, clicking on links, or downloading files, are run inside isolated virtual machines, detached from anything else on the system or network, using hardware-enforced security technologies like micro-virtualization. Even if a user clicks on a malicious link or attachment in a phishing email, the virus is separated from the rest of the device, meaning it can’t infect the host machine, spread across the network, steal sensitive data, or persist. As a result, employees can confidently click without disrupting their workflow
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